What is Embodied Carbon?
Embodied carbon is a term for the greenhouse gas emissions that are released during the lifecycle of a building or product. This includes the emissions associated with the materials used to make it, the emissions released during the building or assembly of it, and the emissions released during the demolition or disposal of it.
Reducing the embodied emissions of buildings, building materials, and other products is an important climate mitigation strategy.
This reading list features books that provide more information about embodied emissions and how to mitigate them. If you know of any good books on the subject that we haven’t included here, please let us know.
Book Inclusion Criteria
Do you know of a book that should be on this list? Let us know!
Books About Embodied Carbon
Embodied Carbon in Buildings: Measurement, Management, and Mitigation edited by Francesco Pomponi, Catherine De Wolf, and Alice Moncaster.
This book provides a single-source reference for whole life embodied impacts of buildings. The comprehensive and persuasive text, written by over 50 invited experts from across the world, offers an indispensable resource both to newcomers and to established practitioners in the field. Ultimately it provides a persuasive argument as to why embodied impacts are an essential aspect of sustainable built environments.
The book is divided into four sections: measurement, including a strong emphasis on uncertainty analysis, as well as offering practical case studies of individual buildings and a comparison of materials; management, focusing in particular on the perspective of designers and contractors; mitigation, which identifies some specific design strategies as well as challenges; and finally global approaches, six chapters which describe in authoritative detail the ways in which the different regions of the world are tackling the issue.
Thwart Climate Change Now: Reducing Embodied Carbon Brick by Brick addresses an imperative—to slow the pace of climate change within the coming decade—before it’s too late. While climate policy typically focuses on future decarbonization 10 to 20 years out, temperatures continue to rise. Greenhouse gases emitted upfront from the materials fabrication, construction, and renovation of our physical environment—embodied emissions—accelerate the rate of global warming now. Sadly, they increase atmospheric carbon before our buildings and infrastructure are even used. Often ignored or deemed too perplexing to resolve, the need to reduce embodied emissions immediately is the subject of this book.
Written for a variety of readers—from policymakers and legislators to architects and developers—Thwart Climate Change Now addresses how to tackle the built environment’s “embodied” carbon emissions, highlighting specific design and policy issues that overlook their own contribution to atmospheric carbon. The book brings together the science of climate change, sustainable design, and green policies in a language accessible to a diverse readership, followed by case study examples to support design, policy and legislative recommendations to slow emissions growth in the near term.